Tuesday, October 21, 2014

November 2014 Visa Bulletin

From Fragomen.com, 10/09/2014

Major Retrogression for EB-2 India, EB-3 Advancement for Most Countries

According to the State Department’s November Visa Bulletin, the EB-2 India priority date cut-off will retrogress by more than four years, to February 15, 2005, after significant advancements over the last several months. EB-2 China will advance by just three weeks, to December 8, 2009. 

EB-3 will see substantial advancements for most countries. The EB-3 China priority date will advance nine months, to January 1, 2010. All other countries except India will advance eight months, to June 1, 2012. India will move forward by one week, to November 22, 2003. 



Source: Department of State


November 2014 Priority Date Cut-Offs 
In November 2014, EB immigrant visa priority date cut-offs will be: 


EB-1 Current for all countries. 


EB-2 China: December 8, 2009 India: February 15, 2005 All other countries: Current 


EB-3 Professionals and Skilled Workers China: January 1, 2010 India: November 22, 2003 All other countries: June 1, 2012 


EB-3 Other Workers China: July 22, 2005 India: November 22, 2003 All other countries: June 1, 2012 


EB-5 Current for all countries and subcategories. 


Employment-Based Immigrant Visa Availability in the Coming Months 
The State Department projects that EB-3 will continue to advance significantly for China and most other countries in the next three months. But if EB-3 demand increases, cut-off dates could be retrogressed early next year, particularly for China. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

FY 2016 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Opens October 1

From Fragomen.com, 09/22/2014

The State Department will begin accepting online registrations for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery starting Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at noon EDT. Foreign nationals who wish to enter the lottery have until Monday, November 3, 2014 at noon EST to file online.

The DV lottery program makes 50,000 green card numbers available each year through random selection. FY 2016 lottery results will be announced in May 2015. Foreign nationals selected in the FY 2016 lottery can submit their green card applications starting on October 1, 2015.

Who Is Eligible to Enter the Lottery? 
The DV lottery is open to natives of countries that have historically low rates of immigration to the United States. Entrants must have a high school education (or equivalent) or at least two years of qualifying work experience.

Individuals from countries with high rates of U.S. immigration are not eligible to register.
This year, those born in the following countries are ineligible: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

People born in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan can participate.

DV lottery applicants may include a spouse (same-sex or opposite-sex) and children in their initial entries or add a spouse and children after their initial registration.

Those people who cannot register because their country of birth is excluded may be able to qualify through a spouse who was born in an eligible country or, in certain circumstances, through a parent’s country of birth.

Registering for the Lottery 
To register, entrants must submit an online form and a digital photo through the official DV lottery website. Only one entry is permitted per person. If there are multiple registrations on behalf of one person, all of them are disqualified.

Applicants must carefully follow the State Department’s official lottery instructions. Lottery entries and digital photos that do not precisely conform to the instructions will be disqualified.

Once the application is accepted, applicants will receive a confirmation number, which can be used to check the status of their application.

How Are Lottery Winners Chosen and Notified? 
The State Department chooses lottery winners by random computer selection. Results will be published starting May 2, 2015 through at least June 30, 2016, on the official DV lottery entry status website.

Foreign nationals can learn whether they were selected only by visiting the official website and entering their confirmation number. The State Department does not notify entrants by letter, e-mail, fax or telephone. The official website is the only legitimate source of lottery results.

Guarding Against Lottery Fraud 
Unfortunately, DV lottery fraud is very common. However, foreign nationals can and should take a few precautions to protect themselves.
  • Look out for deceptive lottery websites. The only authorized DV lottery website is located on the State Department website. The State Department does not use or authorize any outside individual or company to accept lottery applications or operate the lottery. But websites posing as official government sites or claiming to have State Department authorization abound. They should be avoided.
  • The State Department does not charge a fee for lottery registrations. A website, individual or company claiming there is a government fee to enter the lottery is fraudulent.
  • If lottery assistance is needed, seek competent advice. Applicants may use a lawyer or other representative to prepare a lottery registration, but they should be wary of commercial websites that claim to register applicants outside of the registration period or purport to be authorized by the State Department to accept registrations for a fee.
  • Beware of lottery e-mails, letters or faxes that claim to be from the State Department. The State Department does not send e-mails, letters or faxes about the DV lottery. The official website is the only legitimate source of information about lottery results and the only place to submit a lottery registration.
  • Be skeptical of any communication claiming a foreign national has won the DV lottery when he or she did not register or registered in a previous year.
  • Avoid sending money or personal information to questionable individuals or companies.
  • Learn more about DV lottery fraud by visiting the websites of the State Departmentand the Federal Trade Commission.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Major Retrogression in the EB-2/India Immigrant Visa Category Expected in the Fall of 2014

From ogletreedeakins.com, 09/15/2014

The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) Visa Bulletin sets out per country priority dates that regulate when an individual may begin the final phase of the “green card” process, either through adjustment of status or consular processing of an immigrant visa application. Those with a priority date that is earlier than the date listed for that visa category and country can proceed with their application.
Last week, Charles Oppenheim, Chief of the DOS’s Visa Control and Reporting Division, announced that due to the high volume of pending employment-based second preference EB-2/India petitions, effective immediately, the EB-2/India preference category will be "unavailable" through the end of the current federal fiscal year ending on September 30, 2014.
At the same time, Oppenheim indicated that visa numbers for EB-2/India should be available as of October 1, 2014, at the start of the new federal fiscal year. However, most importantly, visa retrogression for the EB-2 India category is possible as early as November 2014. Thus, it is likely that there will be a narrow window of time for current EB-2/India-based adjustment of status (AOS) applications to be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) this fall.
September 2014
USCIS will continue to accept EB-2 India AOS filings with a current priority date. However, since the EB-2 India category has been made “unavailable” and visa numbers are no longer available in this category for September, USCIS may not act on cases until October.
October 2014
The October 2014 Visa Bulletin lists the EB-2/India category with a cutoff date of May 1, 2009. EB-2/India-based AOS applications with a priority date prior to May 1, 2009 should be accepted by USCIS during October.
November 2014 and Beyond
Given the demand in this category, DOS predicts the priority date for EB-2/India will likely retrogress from May 1, 2009 to early 2005, which may occur as soon as November 2014.
A significant percentage of EB-3 to EB-2 upgrades by Indian nationals is cited as a major factor with respect to the predicted retrogression, and DOS expects a large volume of such filings in the coming months. Therefore, EB-2/India applicants with priority dates prior to May 1, 2009, should file their AOS applications before the end of October 2014.